Joel F. Visser
JOEL VISSER is an associate in the Environmental practice group, where he focuses on preparing clients for compliance with cutting-edge environmental, energy and climate change laws before regulatory agencies and in civil litigation and enforcement matters. Since joining Sidley, Joel has been actively involved in rulemaking proceedings and litigation regarding every significant Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action on climate change over the past four years, representing a wide range of trade associations and multinational corporations across virtually all industrial sectors. Joel has also been involved in a variety of other matters under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, CERCLA (Superfund), and related state laws.
Joel has authored or co-authored numerous briefs, motions and other pleadings in federal district and appellate courts. He has also served as a primary author for comments on a number of complex environmental rulemakings by EPA and other state and federal agencies that have lead to significant changes in final rules. Representative engagements include:
- New Source Performance Standards. Represents a broad coalition of energy, manufacturing and industrial trade associations in developing core comments on the EPA’s current proposals to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing fossil fuel-fired power plants.
- GHG Tailoring Rule Litigation. Represents a coalition of trade associations in litigation before the Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit over the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources under the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permitting program.
- Biomass Energy. Represents forestry-based trade associations in regulatory advocacy and litigation related to the EPA’s treatment of biomass energy in greenhouse gas rulemakings. Joel has orchestrated the strategy following the EPA’s decision to suspend its plans to regulate biomass energy, drafted legal and technical comments on biomass-related issues before the EPA and EPA’s Science Advisory Board and currently represents clients in pending litigation over several greenhouse gas regulations.
- Greenhouse Gas Reporting. Provides regulatory compliance advice to clients regarding greenhouse gas emissions reporting under the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, including reporting requirements for imports and exports of materials containing GHGs.
- Clean Water Act. Successfully defended a forestry investment firm in a citizen suit alleging that pollutants from a former mining site on its property were being discharged without a permit. A federal district court dismissed the complaint on standing grounds.
- National Environmental Policy Act. Successfully represented a coalition of oil and gas trade associations who intervened in support of several government entities in a NEPA challenge to proposed hydraulic fracturing regulations. A federal district court dismissed the complaints due to a lack of final agency action.
- CERCLA. Represents clients in negotiations with government agencies and other potentially responsible parties at contaminated sites in a number of locations including sites in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee. Negotiations involve issues related to CERCLA liability and allocation of response costs between potentially liable parties.
- Co-author, “Federal Lawsuit Challenges Water-Resource Commission’s Authority over Natural Gas Exploration in Pennsylvania,” The Legal Pulse (June 1, 2016)
- Co-author, “Citing State-Based Voluntary Conservation Efforts, Federal Court Strikes Down ESA Listing for Lesser Prairie Chicken,” The Legal Pulse (September 14, 2015)
- Co-author, “Mora County and Denton: Constitutional Challenges to Hydraulic Fracturing Bans,” Pratt's Energy Law Report (March 2015)
- Co-author, “New York Court of Appeals Upholds Local Ordinances Restricting Hydraulic Fracturing,”The Legal Pulse (June 30, 2014)
- Co-author, “D.C. Circuit vacates GHG Tailoring Rule deferral for biogenic sources,” Trends – ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources Newsletter (January/February 2014)
- Co-author, “Hydraulic fracturing in the US – 2013 Update,” Practical Law Company (January 2014)
- Co-author, “Don't Believe The Hype: Federal Agencies Are “All Over” Hydraulic Fracturing,” Legal Backgrounder (November 2013)
- Co-author, “Hydraulic Fracturing: Moving Beyond State Regulation,” ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources’ 42nd Annual Spring Conference (March 21–23, 2013)
- Co-author, “Hydraulic fracturing in the US,” Practical Law Company (October 2012)
- Co-author, “Limited Oversight: The Role of the Federal Courts Vis-à-Vis the Environmental Protection Agency in Air Pollution Control Under the Clean Air Act,” Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum (Spring 2011)
- Speaker, “State Implementation of EPA’s Proposed ESPS Rule – Legal Issues,” Readying States for New Greenhouse Gas Rules in the Electricity Sector, National Governors Association (September 22, 2014)
- Speaker, “Tribal vs. Federal Environmental Regulations: A Sovereignty Issue for Tribal Economic Development,” Tribal Rights, Sovereignty and Economic Development in the Midwest (September 11, 2014)
- Speaker, “Hydraulic Fracturing and Local Laws: Leveraging State Preemption, Addressing Fracking Risks and Zoning Challenges,” Strafford Webinar (July 16, 2014)
- Speaker, “Hydraulic Fracturing Regulation in the United States,” International Bar Association, Section on Energy, Environment, Natural Resources and Infrastructure Law, Spring 2014 Conference, Berlin, Germany (April 29, 2014)
- Speaker, “Update on Current Environmental Issues for Combustion-Related Generation and Their Impact on Energy Markets,” Tribal Energy Development in the Great Lakes (February 21, 2014)
- Speaker, “Environmental Issues in Hydraulic Fracturing,” Halfmoon Continuing Education Seminar Wheaton, Illinois (January 21, 2014)
- Speaker, “Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing,” Fifth International Conference on Medical Geology (August 28, 2013)